New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election Saturday: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia.
A “yes” vote on both referendums would arguably make the nation of 5 million one of the more liberal countries in the world. Polls indicate the euthanasia referendum is likely to pass while the result of the marijuana measure remains uncertain.
The euthanasia measure, which would also allow assisted suicide, would apply to people who have terminal illnesses, are likely to die within six months, and are enduring “unbearable” suffering.
The marijuana measure would allow people to buy up to 14 grams (0.5 ounce) a day and grow two plants.
The two referendums are being held at the same time as people cast votes for lawmakers and political parties. As a result, the referendums have been somewhat overshadowed both by the political campaigns and this year’s coronavirus outbreak.
In the political race, popular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears set to win a second term in office, with her liberal Labour Party polling far ahead of the conservative National Party led by Judith Collins.